Building a Better Workforce by Measuring Impact of Hire

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Jun 2, 2016
This article is part of a series called How-Tos.

Think about the times you’ve planned to make a major purchase, eat at a new restaurant, or visit a vacation destination. Chances are you did research, talked to others to gather input, and made the best decision based on the information at hand.

In reality, the process didn’t end there. You learned that a particular brand is reliable, that a restaurant chain offers good value, or that a certain locale or venue is worth the trip, and those conclusions continue to influence where you shop, dine and travel. In short, you made a decision, measured its impact, and now use that knowledge to make better choices in the future.

So why aren’t we doing the same when it comes to hiring? In a world driven by information, why aren’t we using data and analytics to address the questions that keep talent acquisition professionals up at night: Did we make a good hire? Does our hiring process actually work? If not, where is it falling short? And how can we make it better?

The good news is that we can — and just as importantly, we can create a hiring system that learns from itself, continually improves, and does it in real time.

Breaking Down the Challenge

These days, more effort than ever is being put into the front end of the hiring process. The escalating use of innovative HR technologies provides clear evidence that companies are investing significant time and money, and using novel strategies and solutions to recruit top performers.

But what happens once they’re hired? Metrics now being used to evaluate hiring practices are mostly based on efficiency, such as how quickly a company is filling open positions, or on turnover, which fails to account for the many reasons employees leave jobs, most of which are unrelated to the hiring process. In neither case does a company learn whether an employee is actually working out. The type of metrics needed to find this out, such as job performance information, engagement, and leadership behaviors, are all gathered post-hire. Most talent acquisition departments never have this information, and even when they do, it’s a logistical nightmare to analyze alongside pre-hire data.

In some respects, talent acquisition professionals are left working in the dark. What they need is the ability to measure the impact of a new employee early on following hire; to have this information feed back into the hiring process automatically; and then, to be able to apply that analysis to assess the state of the company’s hiring process to make it better, faster, more predictable and more productive.

Think about it: the analytical support that enables Amazon or QVC to fill orders seamlessly is absent from corporate hiring practices, even though personnel is generally a company’s biggest cost center. Does that make sense?

Hiring ROI Driven by Data  

Measuring the impact of a new hire can and should be done no matter the position, from hourly to executive. The timetable for capturing impact could be different for each job based upon training and onboarding, but once underway, the process is straightforward and designed to generate valuable information in a timely fashion.

Employees share their initial experience:

  • Would he or she re-accept the job?
  • Do the job duties match the description?
  • Is the culture what was expected?
  • Have you received proper training?

Similarly, the employee’s supervisor offers input:

  • How is the employee’s job performance?
  • Does he or she get along with colleagues?
  • Would you re-hire them?
  • Do you see a path for upward movement for them in the company?

The answers to these questions generate data that provides immediate feedback to determine whether the new employee is fitting in to the company, and if not, the reasons why. Employers learn whether an employee is engaged in the organization, their passion for the job, how committed they are to going above and beyond, how proactive they are, and other important feedback that offers a window into whether they are an asset or may potentially become a challenge.

Building a Winning Workforce 

The beauty of measuring impact of hire is truly felt in its ability to enhance a company’s entire hiring process, with the data, measurement, and analysis giving the company “a look under its own hood.”

Data is sorted to evaluate the impact of hires by position, location, and time frame. Companies can determine the sources where top performers are being found, and identify which recruiters are delivering top performers. It offers the ability to benchmark hires against other organizations in the same industry. It provides an early warning system to identify challenges with new hires before turnover occurs, at a time when intervention can take place. And, in the case of persistent turnover or bad hires, it can help HR professionals determine if the breakdown is occurring in sourcing, recruiting, hiring or onboarding, or if a managerial or culture issue is to blame.

Armed with newfound transparency driven by data and analytics, solutions to problems that previously went unrecognized become apparent, as do recommended actions to improve hiring. In the end, talent acquisition professionals enjoy the clarity and confidence that comes from knowing their newest hire is delivering — much like their favorite product, restaurant or destination – thanks to a strong hiring process that is better than ever.

This article is part of a series called How-Tos.